Perspectives on Middle East security

An introduction

Authored by: Anders Jägerskog , Michael Schulz , Ashok Swain

Routledge Handbook on Middle East Security

Print publication date:  February  2019
Online publication date:  February  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138749894
eBook ISBN: 9781315180113
Adobe ISBN:

10.4324/9781315180113-1

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Abstract

The Middle East has been and still is a place burdened with armed conflicts and human sufferings. Some of the worst imaginable cruelties of humankind have taken place in these armed conflicts and many horrific images have been visualized via both traditional and new social media. As such, the Middle East is a geopolitically and economically significant region and has been of concern for many empires and great powers since the beginning of human civilization. Since the modern era, and the dramatic increasing importance of the oil resource for industrialization, the region has been of momentous national security importance for many states in the world. The Middle East therefore, and in combination with many local reasons, has been a highly securitized region. The long-existing security threats are played out in several different spaces. There are serious internal conflicts within countries, there are conflicts between countries and there are non-traditional actors threatening security in the region. The violent conflicts often have deep historical roots, are related to sectarian divisions, are rooted in an uneven distribution of resources and are affected by power asymmetries in addition to the problematic great power involvement in the region. Added to that, the resource situation where there is too much of some resources (notably oil and natural gas) and far too little of others (notably water and arable land) creates further potential for unhealthy competition and conflict. Furthermore, in today’s globalized world, the challenges that plague the region have, and will continue to have, repercussions far beyond the borders of the region.

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